Local officials pay respects to Ralph Wilson

Mar 26, 2014

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has ordered that flags at all county buildings be flown at half staff  in honor of Ralph Wilson Jr.

Flags at county buildings will be at half staff in honor of Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr.

In commenting on Wilson's death, Poloncarz says the community would not be the same without the Buffalo Bills.

"It is in someways the glue that binds us together as Buffalonians and Western New Yorkers. And we have Mr. Wilson to thank for this," Poloncarz said.

"He was a man of great integrity who kept his word to our community. My thoughts are with Mr. Wilson's wife, his daughters, and his entire family as well as the entire Buffalo Bills organization at this sad time."

There's been speculation for years about what would happen to the team upon Wilson's death. Poloncarz says the Bills are not leaving; they've just finished year one of a ten-year lease.

"I want to remind everybody it's just not a document that was signed by Erie County and New York state. It was agreed to by Mr. Wilson and the Bills organization as well as the NFL. And I think it's important for the public to understand that the Bills are here today. They will be here tomorrow."

In a written statement, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said as a result of Mr. Wilson's long standing ownership and intense dedication to the Bills franchise, Wilson earned the respect and admiration of football fans in Western New York  and across the nation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered similar sentiments in his statement, calling Wilson "a legendary member of the New York family."

In a written statement, Congressman Brian Higgins reminded that Wilson "was a generous supporter of the community and a World War II veteran."